Managing Director, Pathogen Surveillance

New York, New York or Washington, DC
Competitive salary and benefits
April 29 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Position Overview

The Rockefeller Foundation is launching a Pandemic Prevention Institute as a global platform for rapid pathogen threat detection, evaluation, and action designed specifically to prevent pandemics. This institute will be a global leader in pathogen surveillance and the use of data to detect outbreaks. It will coordinate with national and international health authorities, policy makers, public, private and academic sectors to contain all pandemic-potential outbreaks within 100 days.

The Rockefeller Foundation seeks a Managing Director, Pathogen Surveillance with expertise in pathogen surveillance, outbreak prevention and partnership building to lead and inform the Foundation’s efforts to develop a global early warning system. A focus of this system will be pathogen genomic surveillance. The Managing Director’s responsibilities will be wide ranging and evolve over time as the Foundation delivers on its Mission to collaborate with leading global public health emergency organizations and entities to develop a pandemic prevention institute that aims to avert future pandemics by identifying and responding to the earliest alerts of a disease outbreak and stopping it in the first 100 days. At a high level, the role is expected to include strategic, operational and implementation considerations in support of the Foundation’s efforts to build a pandemic prevention institute.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • In partnership with the Senior Vice President (SVP), Pandemic Preparedness & Response, drive development of the Foundation’s strategy to support a robust, coordinated global early warning system.
  • Develop and implement a strategic engagement plan for critical partners in the genomic surveillance space, focusing on pathogen detection and characterization.
  • Foster and maintain partnerships/coalitions with public, private, and academic institutions that enable the Pandemic Prevention continuum.
  • Leverage content and technical expertise to inform the Foundation’s strategy and positioning in critical aspects of Pandemic Prevention, including pathogen sequencing, data collation from multiple sources, bioinformatics, genotypic analysis, phenotypic analysis and generation/ presentation of insights gained from these analyses.
  • Represent the Foundation in both internal and external meetings and ensure the Foundation’s strategic vision to support Pathogen Surveillance and Pandemic Prevention is adequately represented.
  • Manage a technical team that includes Database Analysts, Genomic Analysts and Project Managers to generate and manage reports, analytical tools, data algorithms and state of the art technologies for assessment of rapidly emerging pathogens.
  • Collaborate with team members and partners to problem solve around critical gaps and barriers that prevent the timely and routine sharing of critical genomic and epidemiological data as a critical aspect of pandemic prevention and response.
  • Support and monitor the achievement of team objectives, communicate successes both internally and externally.
  • Oversee the management of grants and contracts that contribute to formation, operation, and growth of the pandemic prevention institute, of which, genomic systems will be a critical part.
  • Drive the development of thought leadership and technical content pieces that identify and attempt to address fundamental issues that prevent the effective and efficient functioning of global pandemic prevention systems.
  • Convene key stakeholders to test hypotheses, build consensus, and generate new learnings in Pandemic Prevention.
  • Support strategy development and manage donor relations for Pandemic Prevention efforts, which includes attracting and preserving outside capital for The Rockefeller Foundation programs.
  • The Managing Director will be expected to support leadership with the development of specific strategies against these priority projects, generate momentum behind such strategies with internal and external partners and ultimately shepherd them through implementation.

New York, or Washington DC preferred. We are currently fully remote.

Education, Experience and Skills

  • Candidate must have a Ph.D. in infectious disease, epidemiology, bioinformatics or a relevant field supportive of genomic surveillance and epidemic forecasting.
  • Knowledge and experience with next-generation sequencing and bioinformatic analysis as it relates to pathogen genomics (which includes viral, bacterial, parasite, and fungal pathogens).
  • Knowledge of the pathogen genomics pipeline, including sample intake, next-generation sequencing, genomic analysis and functional (phenotypic) analysis.
  • Understanding of the current challenges in detecting, tracking, and assessing the threat posed by novel pathogens including 'Pathogen X.'
  • Knowledge of the challenges needed to be addressed to increase pathogen genomic surveillance in developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Knowledge and experience working with the key stakeholders involved in global pathogen genomics.
  • Experience working with the U.S. government, ideally USAID, CDC, DoD, and/or NIH.
  • Experience supporting genomic surveillance efforts with a global reach.
  • Understanding of the private sector's role in pathogen surveillance.
  • Able to communicate complex genomics data to policymakers, public health officials and non-experts.
  • Must be a self-starter and possess a strategic and entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Committed to results, follows-through and pays attention to details.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness as an inspirational and collaborative people manager that is committed to team development.
  • Excellent writing, presentation and public speaking skills required.
  • Proven experience as a team player, creative and strategic thinker in a fast-paced environment.
  • Shared values and dedication to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • Ability to travel when it is safe to travel again.

Qualifications and Competencies

  • Communication: Excellent interpersonal abilities including strong listening, writing and verbal skills; demonstrates assertiveness and effectiveness in presenting their ideas to a variety of internal and external audiences and for multiple and diverse purposes.
  • Decision-Making: Ability to evaluate risks and opportunities; uses analytical and problem-solving skills; takes initiative and drives for results; is able to prioritize their own work and the work of others and understands how their work fits into the overall mission, strategy and objectives of the Institute and Foundation.
  • Execution: Outstanding project management skills; manages their own time well and provides the necessary guidance and direction to others that allows them to successfully meet deadlines; has a sense of urgency and takes responsibility for their work and how this impacts the Institute, and the Foundation.
  • Integration: Accesses functional and substantive expertise organizationally and accomplishes their work with inclusiveness and collaboration.
  • Leadership: Thinks innovatively and creatively about their work, has strong negotiation skills which enable them to work effectively and efficiently across a large amount of work, people and all internal and external constituencies and demonstrates accountability for their work.
  • Partnership and Relationship Building: Strong professional presence, established networks and can be seen as a key representative of the Foundation; has intercultural knowledge and appreciation; and possesses strong strategic partnership building skills.
  • Strategic Ability: Anticipates future opportunities and consequences, demonstrates an innovative and flexible approach to work, and can organize chaos into a coherent plan and implement it well.
  • People Management: Superior skills to manage a team of program staff and approaches managing people as one that employs teambuilding, skill building and overall staff development and engagement.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: You are committed to the mission of the Foundation, to inclusion, equity and diversity in every aspect of your work, and to challenging conventional wisdom through evidence, reason, and amplifying dissenting, unconventional, and marginalized voices.

The Rockefeller Foundation intends at present to form, establish and launch a global institute for precision pandemic prevention for rapid pathogen threat detection, evaluation and action (the “Institute”). This position will begin at the Foundation and may be transferred or assigned to the Institute. Such transfer or assignment, if at all, would in all aspects be subject to the Foundation’s sole discretion.

As an organization, we focus on six values to advance our culture and to continue our success. We are dedicated to being Transparent, Optimistic, Accountable, Collaborative, Trusted and Equitable. We operate from a strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in everything that we do. It’s not only the right thing to do – we couldn’t make an impact without the diverse perspectives and experiences of our team members. We expect all employees at the Foundation to contribute by developing their unique perspective and talent, and to challenge conventional wisdom through evidence and reason, and by amplifying marginalized voices.

The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity and to compliance with all federal, state, and local laws concerning employment discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. To this end, the Foundation ensures equal opportunity to all employees and applicants regardless of race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, lawful alien status, physical, mental, and medical disability, veteran status or liability for service in the United States Armed Forces.

The Rockefeller Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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